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In India the New Year does NOT start in January

Updated on May 22, 2011

Happy New Year

The concept of a calendar is a sign of civilization. The fact that man put value to his time and was aware enough of seasons and changes in his environment. However as civilizations around the world evolved their own time keeping systems down the years, it was natural to have different calenders for them all as well.

While the official calendar we follow these days is adapted from the Roman calendar, there are other older calenders in use around the world. There are Lunar calenders based on the moon cycles, Solar calenders based on the sun, calenders commissioned by kings, calenders specific to a particular race like the Mayan Calender and so many more. These calenders do not celebrate their new years on the 1st of January.

New Years celebrated in India

India is the melting pot of many cultures. People from many religious and regional areas have settled down here. Each of them has retained some parts of their ancient culture.

The festivals that are specific to each religion are based on their own calenders. This is why so many local calenders exist in India and are referred to regularly even today. This means that New Year is celebrated in India all through the year.

The festival of lights is Diwali. Guess what? It is also the "Financial New Year" for the Baniya community. These people are traders and merchants who worship the goddess of wealth Laxmi at Diwali time. They also open fresh ledger books on the day.

Parsi New Year is Navroz. On this day the minority community of Parsis or Zorastrians settled in India will celebrate their new year. This is based on the ancient Persian Calendar that they carried with them when they fled from Iran.

The festival of Baisakhi  which is a harvest festival is treated at the Naba Varash or new year by the people residing in Bengal. It is also a day dear to the Sikhs in Punjab as their Guru Gobind Singh organized the order of the Khalsa on this day. Plus their Guru Arjan Das was murdered by the invading Muslims on this day as well.

The Hindu new year according to the Lunar calender is celebrated on Vikram Samvat. Also this is usually some time in the month of April and coincides with the coming of spring. The new year is said to come from the new life that the earth receives after the cold winter.

The first day of the Muslim New year is the first day of Muharram. It serves to remind the people of the "Hiraj" or migartion of the Prophet from Mecca to Medina. While it is traditionally not celebrated it is a new beginning.

So as you can see there are many New Years that are celebrated in India and none of them fall on the 1st of January. Although that is too celebrated with great fervor and gusto by all the people no matter which religion or region they may belong to.

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    • alekhouse profile image

      Nancy Hinchliff 7 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

      Wow! This is so interesting. I didn't know any of this. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      Duchess OBlunt 7 years ago

      I'm with alekhouse cashmere, I didn't know any of this either. This was very educational for me. Thank you

    • Money Glitch profile image

      Money Glitch 7 years ago from Texas

      On my old job some of my co-workers were from India so I had heard that there were different New Year's celebration,through out the year, however, I never knew why. I am always fascinated by cultural traditions, thanks for sharing Cashmere!

    • cashmere profile image
      Author

      cashmere 7 years ago from India

      Thanks Alex, Duchess and Money glitch. Am glad that the information was interesting,for us its a way of life.

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Wonderful hub and information!

      I have lived throughout Asia and Africa and in these ancient civilizations - of course 2009 is considered recent history in terms of years - and only in the West is January 1 a new year.

      Other civilizations are much much much older. Of course people from all over the world live in NYC so I get to celebrate many holidays (all fun!)

      Thanks for putting this hub together!

    • cashmere profile image
      Author

      cashmere 7 years ago from India

      Glad you enjoyed it BKCreative

    • Feline Prophet profile image

      Feline Prophet 7 years ago from India

      We need any excuse to celebrate, don't we? :)

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

      Hi Cashmere - yes, we have so many, right? And 2008 on, the Tamil new year has gone back to the ancient date which co-incides with January 15 - so there's one New Year in Jan :)

    • cashmere profile image
      Author

      cashmere 7 years ago from India

      It has Shalini? See we got so many we can't even keep track of them all.

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

      hehe - how right you are! adds to the fun - and we crazy Tamilians just have to be different :D

    • cashmere profile image
      Author

      cashmere 7 years ago from India

      Feline, so true! Its celebration at the drop of a hat in India.

      Shalini, Its fun all the same isn't it?

    • Cris A profile image

      Cris A 7 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      I'm glad to note that cultural diversity rules in your country, that not one is bullied into changing their traditions. India is one of the most interesting places on Earth. Ahh the spices!

    • cashmere profile image
      Author

      cashmere 7 years ago from India

      Cris that unity in diversity has long been India's USP!

      Spices? Yes we have plenty. I can sense a hub coming on...

    • thirdmillenium profile image

      thirdmillenium 7 years ago from Here, There, Everywhere

      While all this fine and true theoratically, practical life is otherwise: Everybody, especially the young, celebrates the Christian new year with fervor.

    • cashmere profile image
      Author

      cashmere 7 years ago from India

      True we have some of the most extravagant New Year Bashes around in the major cities.

    • DevBlue profile image

      DevBlue 6 years ago from Mauritius

      Nice Hub.

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